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Latinas Are the Demographic Most Negatively Financially Impacted By the Pandemic

Via Piqsels/Public Domain

A new report from UCLA detailed an under-reported phenomenon. According to a report by the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative (LPPI) at UCLA, Latinas were financially impacted by COVID-19 more than any other demographic.

The study is entitled “Latinas Exiting the Workforce: How the Pandemic Revealed Historic Disadvantages and Heightened Economic Hardship”.

The study begins by explaining that, pre-pandemic, Latinas were going to “transform the U.S. labor force and catalyze economic growth”. However, the pandemic changed that projection. The study showed that a perfect storm of factors caused Latinas to exit the labor force last year. Between August and September 2020, roughly 337,000 Latinas dropped out of the work force. That is around three times the rate of white women.

The study concluded “hyper-segregation in low-paying jobs” in fields like leisure and hospitality caused high unemployment for Latinas. It also claimed that Latinas have less access to education and training that would otherwise allow them to pursue skilled jobs.

The study also found that Latinas are also disproportionately burdened with family-care and domestic obligations more than their white counterparts.

Because of this, many Latinas felt pressured to stay home with their children during the pandemic. “I’m a mother and I’m a widow, so I’m the head of the family….When they closed the schools, many women felt obligated to stay at home,” said 36-year-old Adriana Rodriguez to ABC News. “There was no day care, there wasn’t anyone to take care of the kids. I also felt obligated to stay home, so I stopped looking for work because I have six kids here and it’s very difficult.”

Over the past year, Latinas have an unemployment rate 3.16 percentage points above the national employment rate average. But it’s not just that Latinas were more unemployed than their white counterparts. Latinas also weren’t actively looking for work due to their domestic obligations.

According to the LPPI, the primary factor behind the trend is that “Latinas are disproportionately responsible for family care obligations versus Latino men.”

In the same vein, Latinas are “more likely to stay at home than mothers of other racial backgrounds. According to lead researcher Kassandra Hernández, the way to combat these structural disparities is through stronger social safety nets. Hernández told AP News that Latinas need “access to child care, better pay and educational opportunities to help them overcome not just the disparities in career opportunities but the setbacks that the pandemic brought.”

Hernández is optimistic that the Biden administration’s American Families Plan–which will provide child tax credits, universal free pre-school, paid family medical leave, all with an “emphasis on racial and ethnic minorities”–can help thousands of Latinas return to work. As Hernández recently Tweeted, “Supporting Latinas is not only crucial for their economic wellbeing, but for that of the country.”

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